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Partygate inquisitor Gray has bad form on full disclosure

A GRENFELL Tower campaigner says the senior civil servant leading the inquiry into parties at Downing Street has been implicated in the withholding of information on the tragic blaze and other issues.

Campaigner Jason Evans said that Sue Gray is “not a person that believes in open and full disclosure.”

Investigative website openDemocracy says it has unearthed new information implicating Ms Gray in the withholding of information when she was involved in the Grenfell inquiry.

Newly uncovered documents show Ms Gray was consulted over blocking a journalist’s request for emails to and from Number 10 adviser Elizabeth Sanderson, openDemocracy says.

One Cabinet Office staffer wrote to a colleague: “I’ve discussed with Sue and we’ll probably be looking to withhold these emails.”

In other documents Ms Gray urged officers not to respond to a Freedom of Information request about the infected blood scandal in which NHS patients died. Instead, she cited the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war as an example of how to release the information “in a managed way,” the documents show.

Grenfell Next of Kin advocate Kimia Zabihyan said it was hardly surprising that requests for information about the 2017 west London fire disaster had been opposed within the government.

“The illusion that we have an open society that is serving the interests of the citizens was absolutely exposed in Grenfell,” she said.

Ms Gray’s approach to freedom of information has been criticised on other occasions. In 2015, Chris Cook, then the policy editor for BBC Newsnight, wrote: “I know of half a dozen occasions where Ms Gray has intervened to tell departments to fight disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.”

The Cabinet Office has been approached for comment.

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